Robert Ludlum's The Paris Option (Covert-One Series #3)

Robert Ludlum's The Paris Option (Covert-One Series #3)

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by Robert Ludlum, Gayle Lynds

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For 30 years, Robert Ludlum's novels have set the standard for the finest in international intrigue and suspense. With an unbroken string of bestsellers in almost every country in the world, Robert Ludlum's books have been enjoyed by hundreds of millions of readers, and are widely acknowledged as classics in the field. Now, after the bestselling Covert-One novels


For 30 years, Robert Ludlum's novels have set the standard for the finest in international intrigue and suspense. With an unbroken string of bestsellers in almost every country in the world, Robert Ludlum's books have been enjoyed by hundreds of millions of readers, and are widely acknowledged as classics in the field. Now, after the bestselling Covert-One novels The Hades Factor and The Cassandra Compact comes the third thrilling novel in the series - The Paris Option.

A fiery explosion in the dark of night shatters one of the laboratory buildings in Paris's esteemed Pasteur Institute. Among the dead is Emile Chambord, one of the leaders in the global race to create a molecular - or DNA - computer. Unfortunately, Professor Chambord kept the details of his work secret, and his notes were apparently destroyed in either the bomb blast or the raging fire that followed.

The scientific community does not expect a workable DNA computer to be developed for years. But suddenly U.S. fighter jets disappear from radar screens for a full five minutes, and there's no explanation. Utilities across the Western states cease functioning, and all telecommunications abruptly stop, with devastating consequences. This is not the work of a clever hacker, although Washington, worried about a panic, assures the public it is. Only the enormous power and speed of a DNA computer could have caused such havoc.

Under the cover of visiting his friend Marty Zellerbach, who was severely injured when the Pasteur lab was destroyed, Covert-One agent Jon Smith flies to Paris to search for the connection between the Pasteur explosion and the forces now wielding the computer. Following a trail that leads him across two continents, Smith uncovers a web of deception that threatens to wreck havoc and forever reshape the world.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Ludlum is light years beyond his literary competition in piling plot twist upon plot twist, until the mesmerized reader is held captive...[He] dominates the field in strong, tightly plotted, adventure-drenched thrillers. Ludlum pulls out all the stops and dazzles his readers.” —Chicago Tribune

“Ludlum stuffs more surprises into his novels than any other six pack of thriller writers combined.” —The New York Times

“Reading a Ludlum novel is like watching a James Bond film.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Welcome to Robert Ludlum's pacing, tight plotting, international intrigue.” —The Plain Dealer

“Robert Ludlum is the master of gripping, fast-moving intrigue. He is unsurpassed at weaving a tapestry of stunningly diverse figures, then assembling them in a sequence so gripping that the reader's attention never wavers.” —The Daily Oklahoman

“Don't ever begin a Ludlum novel if you have to go to work the next day.” —Chicago Sun-Times

“If a Pulitzer Prize were awarded for escapist fiction, Robert Ludlum undoubtedly would have won it. Ten times over.” —Mobile Register

“An exciting medical-military thriller that moves at a rapid pace to its exciting new series.” —Midwest Book Review

“A pop hit...that should bounce right up the bestseller lists.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Gripping...robust writing and a breakneck pace.” —Boston Herald

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Covert-One Series, #3
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
6.76(w) x 10.90(h) x 1.33(d)

Read an Excerpt

Paris, France

Monday, May 5

The first warm winds of spring gusted along Paris's narrow back streets and broad boulevards, calling winter-weary residents out into the night. They thronged the sidewalks, strolling, linking arms, filling the chairs around outdoor cafe tables, everywhere smiling and chatting. Even the tourists stopped complaining-this was the enchanting Paris promised in their travel guides.

Occupied with their glasses of vin ordinaire under the stars, the spring celebrators on the bustling rue de Vaugirard did not notice the large black Renault van with darkened windows that left the busy street for the boulevard Pasteur. The van circled around the block, down the rue du Dr Roux, and at last entered the quiet rue des Volontaires, where the only action was of a young couple kissing in a recessed doorway.

The black van rolled to a stop outside L'Institut Pasteur, cut its engine, and turned off its headlights. It remained there, silent, until the young couple, oblivious in their bliss, disappeared inside a building across the street.

The van's doors clicked open, and four figures emerged clothed completely in black, their faces hidden behind balaclavas. Carrying compact Uzi submachine guns and wearing backpacks, they slipped through the night, almost invisible. A figure materialized from the shadows of the Pasteur Institute and guided them onto the grounds, while the street behind them remained quiet, deserted.

Out on the rue de Vaugirard, a saxophonist had begun to play, his music throaty and mellow. The night breeze carried the music, the laughter, and the scent of spring flowers in through the open windows of the multitude of buildings at the Pasteur. The famed research center was home to more than twenty-five hundred scientists, technicians, students, and administrators, and many still labored into the night.

The intruders had not expected so much activity. On high alert, they avoided the paths, listening, watching the windows and grounds, staying close to trees and structures as the sounds of the springtime gaiety frown the rue de Vaugirard increased.

But in his laboratory, all outside activity was lost on Dr. Emile Chambord, who sat working 0alone at his computer keyboard on the otherwise unoccupied second floor of his building. His lab was large, as befitted one of the institute's most distinguished researchers. It boasted several prize pieces of equipment, including a robotic gene-chip reader and a scanning-tunneling microscope, which measured and moved individual atoms. But more personal and far more critical to him tonight were the files near his left elbow and, on his other side, a spiral-bound notebook, which was open to the page on which he was meticulously recording data.

His fingers paused impatiently on the keyboard, which was connected to an odd-looking apparatus that appeared to have more in common with an octopus than with IBM or Compaq. Its nerve center was contained in a temperature-controlled glass tray, and through its sides, one could see silver-blue gel packs immersed like translucent eggs in a jellied, foam-like substance. Ultra-thin tubing connected the gel packs to one another, while atop them sat a lid. Where it interfaced with the gel packs was a coated metallic plate. Above it all stood an iMac-sized machine with a complicated control panel on which lights blinked like impulsive little eyes. From this machine, more tubing sprouted, feeding into the pack array, while wires and cables connected both the tray and the machine to the keyboard, a monitor, a printer, and assorted other electronic devices.

Dr. Chambord keyboarded in commands, watched the monitor, read the dials on the iMac-sized machine, and continually checked the temperature of the gel packs in the tray. He recorded data in his notebook as he worked, until he suddenly sat back and studied the entire array. Finally, he gave an abrupt nod and typed a paragraph of what appeared to be gibberish-letters, numbers, and symbols-and activated a timer.

His foot tapped nervously, and his fingers drummed the lab bench. But in precisely twelve seconds, the printer came to life and spat out a sheet of paper. Controlling his excitement, he stopped the timer and made a note. At last he allowed himself to snatch up the printout.

As he read, he smiled. "Mais, oui."

Dr. Chambord took a deep breath and typed small clusters of commands. Sequences appeared on his screen so fast that his fingers could not keep up. He muttered inaudibly as he worked. Moments later, he tensed, leaned closer to the monitor, and whispered in French, ". . . one more . . . one . . . more . . . there!"

He laughed aloud, triumphant, and turned to look at the clock on the wall. It read 9:55 p.m. He recorded the time and stood up.

His pale face glowing, he stuffed his files and notebook into a battered briefcase and took his s20coat from the old-fashioned Empire wardrobe near the door. As he put on his hat, he glanced again at the clock and returned to his contraption. Still standing, he keyboarded another short series of commands, watched the screen for a time, and finally shut everything down. He walked briskly to the door, opened it onto the corridor, and, observed that it was dim and deserted. For a moment, he had a sense of foreboding.

Then he shook it off. Non, he reminded himself: This was a moment to be savored, a great achievement. Smiling broadly, he stepped into the shadowy hall. Before he could close the door, four black-clothed figures surrounded him.

Thirty minutes later, the wiry leader of the intruders stood watch as his three companions finished loading the black van on the rue des Volontaires. As soon as the side door closed, he appraised the quiet street once more and hopped into the passenger seat. He nodded to the driver, and the van glided away toward the crowded rue de Vaugirard, where it disappeared in traffic.

The lighthearted revelry on the sidewalks and in the cafes and tabacs continued. More street musicians arrived, and the vin ordinaire flowed like the Seine. Then, without warning, the building that housed Dr. Chambord's laboratory on the legendary Pasteur campus exploded in a rolling sheet of fire. The earth shook as flames seemed to burst from every window and combust up toward the black night sky in a red-and-yellow eruption of terrible heat visible for miles around. As bricks, sparks, glass, and ash rained down, the throngs on the surrounding streets screamed in terror and ran for shelter.

Copyright 2002 by Myn Pyn LLC

Meet the Author

Robert Ludlum (1927-2001) was the author of 25 thriller novels, including The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum--the books on which the international hit movies were based--and The Sigma Protocol. He was also the creator of the Covert-One series. Born in New York City, Ludlum received a B.A. from Wesleyan University, and before becoming an author, he was a United States Marine, a theater actor and producer.

Gayle Lynds is the bestselling, award-winning author of several international espionage thrillers, including Masquerade, The Coil, and The Last Spymaster. A member of the Association for Intelligence Officers, she is cofounder (with David Morrell) of ITW (International Thriller Writers). She lives in Santa Barbara.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
May 25, 1927
Date of Death:
March 12, 2001
Place of Death:
Naples, Florida
B.A., Wesleyan University, 1951

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3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have all of Robert Ludlum's novels and have enjoyed them immensely. I cannot say that of this book. Robert Ludlum may have created the Covert One series, but he surely had little to do with this novel. I had a problem with some of the relationships within this book. First, the characters 'Jon Smith' and 'Fred Klein' have appeared in each of the Covert One novels. Since Smith is supposed to work for Klein, Smith would show some deference towards Klein. That is how I would expect a Ludlum book to be writen, but not this novel. Klein comes accross as Smith's lackey and somewhat of a clownish figure. Another relationship that appears in all of the Covert One novels is that between the characters 'Smith' and 'Zellerbach.' They have been portrayed as close friends however, the relationship in this novel takes a somewhat perverse twist when Zellerbach is in the hospital in a coma and Smith is messaging Zellerbach's feet! This is something most guys would have a hard time envisioning. The author Lynds also seems to have a hard time defining the roles between NSA, NASA, and the president's national security advisor. Perhaps all of the Ns, Ss, and As were too overwelming. I would recommend Miss Lynds review Dan Browns novels for an overview of the roles each of those functions. Miss Lynds might also take a harder look at our military's senior commanders...the Army's Chief of Staff is a general (four star), not a lieutenant general (three star). The same is true of the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Finally, who says 'damnation?' Lynds seems to be fond of this word since it appears so often at the lips of many different characters. This could have been a very entertaining novel, but Lynds managed to insert so many annoying things (see above) that my attention kept being distracted. I do not think I will buy another novel with her name on it.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Robert Ludlum has always told tales that seemed light years ahead of their time, but as history has unfolded, so have the possibilities his novels have predicted. Here is another deadly plot that haunts our future in today's war on terrorism: a warning if you will. For this reason alone, the book deserves five stars, but it is also espionage at its most intriguing and heart-pounding pace. Once started, you can't put it down!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Who really wrote this novel? The story is smothered by endless and unnecessary adjectives. A possible interesting and exciting plot is constantly distracted by countless descriptions which continue to interrupt the movement of the storyline. The book is overwhelmed by a travelogue of tedious trivia. I have always loved and enjoyed most of Robert Ludlum's other books, but this novel is disappointing to me.
johnwillie More than 1 year ago
A easy reading book with great suspence
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Of all the Covert One authors I find Ms Lynds to be the best She develops the story and characters without letting one dominate the other
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hmmmmmmmmmm. Not a bad book if u are not truly a ludlum fan. You can easily tell that he had NO hand in writing ANY of the books that list a second author. This book contains only his characters not his writing style. Overall not a bad book but nothing close to what ludlum achieves. Not boring. So i would say go ahead and read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
rmd270 More than 1 year ago
This was my first read of this author pair (Ludlum & Lynds) and I was very impressed. An immersive story with fast paced action and great characters. A good mix of cloak and dagger coupled with a very exciting high tech slant. Story plot centers around the teaming of a CIA, MI6 and Covert One (US) agencies as they battle the against a NATO team of insurgents with ties to Middle Eastern and Basque groups. I looked forward to reading more Covert One stories from this pair
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MitchRapp36 More than 1 year ago
I am a big Ludlum fan and have now read the first three of the covert one series. I will soon start the fourth. I highly recommend these books to anyone who likes a good thriller.
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